The Kidneys And How They Work?

How Can I Prevent Kidney Disease?

The key to prevention or delay of severe kidney failure is early detection and aggressive intervention — while there’s still time to try to slow down the disease. Medical care with early intervention can slow the development and progression of chronic kidney disease.

Diabetes and hypertension are the two most common causes of kidney failure — and both are conditions you can help control. By aggressively managing diabetes and hypertension with diet, exercise, and medications, you may be able to prevent kidney failure and help keep as much kidney function as possible.

Since diabetes and high blood pressure put you at risk of kidney disease, know where you stand with these risks. Do you have diabetes or hypertension? Is your diabetes or hypertension under control? If you can, find out about your family’s medical history, as well, so you’ll know if diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease run in your family.

Get Tested Regularly

Test every year at your doctor:

  • Ask for a urine test to see if you have excess protein, glucose, or blood in the urine.
  • Ask for a blood pressure reading, to see if your blood pressure is high.
  • Ask for a fasting blood glucose test, to see if you have too much glucose (sugar) in your blood.

Control Diabetes

If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar levels under the best possible control. A program of diet, regular exercise, glucose monitoring, and medications to control blood sugars and protect kidney function can help.

Control Hypertension

If you have hypertension, work with your doctor to get your blood pressure as close as possible within normal ranges. Again, a program of diet, regular exercise, and medications can help.

Consider Seeing a Nephrologist

If you’ve already lost some kidney function, or your doctor tells you that you’re likely to have more kidney damage in the future, ask about a referral to a nephrologist (a kidney disease specialist). A nephrologist can provide specialized testing, evaluate your condition, and talk with you about possible ways to slow down the progress of kidney disease.



Points to Remember

  • The kidneys are two vital organs that keep the blood clean and chemically balanced.
  • Kidney disease can be detected through a spot check for protein or albumin in the urine and a calculation of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) based on a blood test.
  • The progression of kidney disease can be slowed, but it cannot always be reversed.
  • End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is the total or nearly total and permanent loss of kidney function.
  • Dialysis and transplantation can extend the lives of people with kidney failure.
  • Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney failure.
  • People with reduced kidney function should see their doctor regularly. Doctors who specialize in kidney disease are called nephrologists.
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  • People in the early stages of CKD may be able to save their remaining kidney function for many years by
    • controlling their blood glucose
    • controlling their blood pressure
    • following a low-protein diet
    • maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood
    • taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB)
    • not smoking

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